Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 30 - Fitoavana

It was a great week in Ambohimanarina!! We had tons of great lessons and great experiences this week! First off, Elder Nichols and I ended our reign with 29 investigators at church! It was a great transfer with him but excited to get my new companion Elder Passey. We have so many investigators that are progressing so well it is amazing! We have 7 being baptized this Saturday so that will be a special day for sure. I am also baptizing an 85 year old woman who can barely walk and can't bend her knees so not sure how that will work but I'm gonna have to work on my front squats a little or something. A great experience for me this week was a lesson with an investigator who broke down to us. He is a grown man and married with two kids. He said he never had a desire to go to church ever since he was accused of burglary and was in jail for 18 months for something he didn't do. He said he got out and was mad and wouldn't go to church or pray or anything. He said though as he has learned with us that he is coming back to church and to the church with the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. As he told us this story, he was breaking down crying to us. I felt a lot of emotions but one thing that came to my mind was dang I am only 19....I wondered why this grown man felt comfortable telling us this and crying knowing we were just kids...also why people ask us for help with their addictions and marriage problems and any other things they may be going through. I know it is cause it is not us doing this work but the Spirit working through us. There is no way the missionary program of the church would be able to do so much good if the people running it were snot nosed 19 year old kids. The one in charge is our Heavenly Father and Savior. I know that is true. There is not a doubt in my mind or heart. I am so grateful for this experience and this opportunity in my life. I love the mission and love these people!! Have a great week everyone!! 
 View of a road I walk on almost everyday.
  A lunch with investigators and all the missionaries.
 A sweet rice field on my split with Elder Allen!
 Elder Allen
  We got those shirts and hats made...I know mom it doesnt match...
 Some crazy kids that followed us around until we took pics with them haha.

 Our way too big English teaching them weird stuff haha.
 Cool view.
 One of my favorite little kids. Her mom served mission in South Africa and can speak English and the little girl is way good at English too. She came up to me at stake conference and asked if I would take a picture of her haha. 
 A sick basketball court!!
  Made Donne and his family brownies as they had never had before. Told them it had cockroaches in it and it was an American treat haha. They were way scared but after realized we were joking about the cockroaches hahaha.
Nichols and I with Gerard and Claudia and Claudia's mom! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 29 - Mikata Be Aho

Salama Everyone!! Hope you are all doing good and had a great week! I had a great week myself! It is hard to not have a good week when you have been getting over 25 investigators at church the last month! The work is going so well and it has been amazing to be apart of it! One of my favorite stories this week is about Eric and his family! Eric and his whole family have been learning for awhile now. Eric wants to be baptized but his wife and two kids are still thinking. We had a good lesson with them about the WoW (Word of Wisdom) and at the end we asked if the family has been praying about the baptism and what their feelings are. Tolotra, Eric's 18 year old son, spoke up and said yes I have prayed and I know I need to be baptized. Eric looked at him and was like, "Really?!?!" Tolotra said yeah then Eric got up gave him a big fist bump and a hug and they were both so happy! Man that was great to see! It was just a little simple moment but so cool. Eric's wife and daughter said they are close but still want to learn more. They are a great family that I have no doubt will be baptized! Also a story about another Eric. Except this Eric is an 19 year old kid. He has been learning for a little while and coming to church and is being baptized on March 4. He comes to church all by himself. His dad is a drunk and his brother is telling him it is blasphemy to be baptized in our church. He said he knows it is true and he has been a big example to me. I feel like I am already great friends with Eric and he is such a stud! He walks a long way to church all by himself every week and I usually sit with him in Sacrament. He is a great guy and I cant wait to see him baptized! Being a missionary is great! I know before I was a missionary I always thought missionaries knew everything and they were the amazing examples to everyone around them. As I have been here almost 7 months now I realized that I learn more from the amazing people around me then they do from me. I am so thankful for this opportunity in my life! I feel so blessed! I hope you all have a great week! Love you all!
I got my scriptures bound and it is sick haha.
A cool view 

Some of the best kids in the whole world
Some guy asked to take a pic with me...hahaha.

Rice patties! I love walking on these to get to our investigators house!

Me with a ton of little kids that were following us from lesson to lesson hahahaa.  

One of our recent converts killing their hamsters for food. The dad is a taxi driver and the Malagasies live day by day with their money and the dads car broke down and couldn't work for 4 days and had no money so they decided to kill their hamsters and eat them for dinner....way sad.

Some pics of us with our sick bucket hats we had made!

A little kid in our branch that wanted to wear my name tag around at church haha...I love that kid! His name is FanomezanaSoa.

A cool soccer field!

And a cool Catholic church!

Some cool views!

Some cool views 

 Some kids

And we had dinner with Rachel and Claire and their family. Rachel is older lady around 40ish years old and Claire is 85 year old gma with white hair. Both are great people!!!

And some pics of the people that made our sandals out of tires! They are so cool!

Brax I got those ones on the left for you as they don't fit me...the strap is a seat belt hahaha they are so sick!! 

Some pics from Elder Bowens camera...a couple from the Croc farm couple weeks ago

One from our Soire with Lalaina and his family. Lalaina works for the mission and fixes all the stuff on missionary's houses so we know him well. He is awesome and his family is too! 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 28 - Do Third World Countries Need Internet Anyway?

What's up everybody!! It has been a couple weeks! Got internet back today and it has been good to catch up with everyone!! There is so much to talk about but I will talk about the important stuff haha. First off Elder Nichols and Shoemaker are straight ballin' out. Last week 25 investigators at church and 29 yesterday!! Definitely not mine and Nichols' doing but the Spirit and our Heavenly Father preparing people but it has been great to be a part of it!! We have found some great people and have some great people progress also! Lots of baptisms coming up!!! One thing that has stood out to me this week is the Malagasies love for the scriptures. When we have dinners with families they always have us share spiritual thoughts. And that is just everyone that is there picks a verse and says some thoughts and feelings about that verse. It is very uplifting and one of my favorite things to do! I have learned so much and gained a lot stronger testimony of the scriptures in these last 6 months. We all have them in our home and we have all picked them up a couple times at least probably...but how often do we feast on the words of Christ? If we really believe that the scriptures are the words of God wouldn't we take a little time out of our day to diligently study them? Wouldn't we turn off the reality tv show we are watching for 10 minutes at least and go and read something that can help improve our lives and build our relationship with Christ and our Heavenly Father? I am definitely not perfect and will never be but that is just something I have felt this week. I have been studying a lot about faith and I have studied the scriptures a lot to learn more about faith. One thing I have noticed is nowhere in the scripture does it say we will be saved by our knowledge...but instead it says we will be saved by our faith. We weren't sent down here to earth to learn everything that Heavenly Father knows; we were sent to walk by faith but not by sight. Yet there are so many people that freak out when they don't completely understand something or when they have a question...that is a good thing! It is a chance to show our faith!! I have tried to strengthen my faith and continue to try everyday. I am so grateful for these last 6 months and the next 18! I love my mission and feel so grateful!! I love the Malagasy people! Even though one of our investigators says I look like a lemur when I puff out my cheeks...haha. I hope you all have a great week!!
 Cool view of my area!

 This kid had a cool shirt hahaha.
 Some pics with members at a branch acitivty. Heck yeah I bought a selfie stick haha.
  Yeah that chicken is alive and yeah we are at a Croc can guess what happened #chickfila
Some more pics at the zoo. Haha Malagasy zoos have absolutely no rules and it is awesome. 
 That turtle was pretty dang strong haha.
 a cool chameleon
 Got some pics with zaboomafoo! They were at the zoo although not in cages the worker just made some lemur noises and we held out bananas and they came climbing down the trees! It was sweet!!  

 Some pics of a family we had dinner with and I gave them some glowsticks haha. Not the best couple pics but oh well.

  A pic with some investigators that are way cool and wanted to take a pic haha.
 My wrist after I pulled out my stitches.
 Needed a workout so I was curling these girls with a broom haha they were loving it and it was so funny!
 Our house and district is best in the mission hahaha. We had "family pictures" done and me and my comp bought bucket hats which every malagasy wears since it is so hot hahaha. We are tools but we plan on printing out a big one and getting it framed to leave in our house forever haha.
 Pic of us getting ready to go out in the pouring rain.
 A pic of our church which is right next to the US Embassy.
 Baptism, Fitiavana and Finoana were baptized by their dad Donne. Donne was baptized 3 weeks ago...really cool experience.
 My wrist is all healed up now haha. 
 Some pics with Donne and Lalas family at lunch after their son's baptism!

 Pic with Samuel and Fara's family at a dinner last night!  
 Some of my favorite members!!
Me holding a lemur and if you cant tell I am the one with the hat on since apparently I look like a lemur haha.